Mercedes will not contest FIA punishments

Mercedes looked to move on from the tyre testing saga by confirming they will not appeal against the punishments handed down by the FIA's International Tribunal.

Brawn brushed away the 'secret testing' reports.

Mercedes and tyre manufacturer Pirelli were each reprimanded after being found to be in breach of the FIA's sporting regulations over a three-day test they conducted in Barcelona in May, but were spared stern sanctions when the tribunal, which sat for more than six hours in Paris yesterday, delivered its verdict this lunchtime.

Mercedes have also been banned from competing in the forthcoming young driver test session to be held at Silverstone on July 17-19, but given the possible range of sanctions they faced, they unsurprisingly elected to take the "proportionate" punishment on the chin and move on.

"The Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team acknowledges and accepts the decision of the FIA International Tribunal published today," the team said in a statement.

"Mercedes accepts the proportionate penalties of a reprimand and suspension from the forthcoming Young Driver Test that have been decided upon by the Tribunal.

"In the best interests of the sport, the team does not intend to avail itself of any right to appeal the decision."

Mercedes had been at the mercy of a range of sanctions ranging from a fine, through to a points deduction, race bans or even exclusion from the world championship.

Today's verdict came a day after the FIA-appointed tribunal met to determine whether Mercedes and Pirelli violated F1's sporting regulations during the Barcelona test.

Mercedes were brought before the hearing on suspicion that they contravened a ban on in-season testing by using their current car and regular drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in the 1,000-kilometre test organised by Pirelli.

Mercedes maintained throughout they had not benefited from any of the data, that they had the permission of FIA race director Charlie Whiting to use their 2013 car, and that their motivations for undertaking the test was primarily to assist Pirelli resolve tyre safety issues.

The team's prospects nevertheless looked bleak yesterday when the FIA's legal counsel Mark Howard QC branded Whiting's apparent approval "irrelevant", and claimed they had gained an "unfair" advantage over their rivals.

The FIA was pushing to sanction Mercedes under the provisions of Article 22 of its sporting regulations, which outlines the ban on in-season testing.

The body said Mercedes had also fallen foul of Article 151c, which prevents competitors committing "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally".

Pirelli was summoned on the grounds that it had failed to offer the opportunity to test to other teams.

In its full decision, the tribunal presided over by Edwin Glasgow QC noted that the testing "was not carried out by Pirelli and/or Mercedes with the intention that Mercedes should obtain any unfair sporting advantage" and that "neither acted in bad faith at any material time".

The statement continued: "Both Pirelli and Mercedes disclosed to FIA at least the essence of what they intended to do in relation to the test and attempted to obtain permission for it; and Mercedes had no reason to believe that approval had not been given .

"The actions taken on behalf of FIA by Charlie Whiting (having taken advice from the legal department of FIA) were taken in good faith and with the intention of assisting the parties and consistent with sporting fairness."

Yet the tribunal went on to say they nevertheless had grounds to bring sanctions.

"By running its car(s) in the course of the testing, Mercedes acted in breach of Article 22.4 h) SR; insofar as FIA expressed its qualified approval for the testing to be carried out, that approval could not, and did not, vary the express prohibition stipulated by Article 22 SR and neither Mercedes nor Pirelli took adequate steps to ensure that the qualification was satisfied," the statement read.

"Mercedes did obtain some material advantage (even if only by way of confirmation of what had not gone wrong) as a result of the testing, which, at least potentially, gave it an unfair sporting advantage, to the knowledge and with the intention of Pirelli."

The tribunal also took account of an email sent from Pirelli engineers to their counterparts at Mercedes.

"It is plain beyond sensible argument that Pirelli had intended confidentially to pass some data to Mercedes, which Pirelli expressly regarded as being of high importance even if, as we accept, it was in fact of limited value to Mercedes because it was unaware of the tyre(s) to which the report related," the report added.

The FIA, which called for the tribunal to rule on the matter following a protest from Red Bull and Ferrari ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, responded to the verdict in a separate statement in which the body expressed hope that "lessons are learnt from this case and from the decision handed down".

"To this end, the FIA will make sure, in association with all F1 teams, that its control of the testings is strengthened," the statement added.

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn is optimistic his outfit can now move forward with a "blemish-free record", but echoed the FIA's stance that the sport must take note of the issues raised.

"We all need to look at the process. It's clear the process went wrong," Brawn, who appeared as a witness at the hearing, told Sky Sports News.

"We need to make sure we find ways of stopping these things in the future.

"We had reason to believe we had permission to do that test and from that perspective we're happy. Obviously things have gone wrong and we have received penalties, we understand that and we accept it.

"The important thing is we acted in good faith with no intention to gain an unfair advantage."



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